February 6, 2015 --
Burn Awareness Week is observed each year during the first week of February.
The theme for the weeklong observance is scalding, which is preventable, according to Fire Chief Phillip Partin, Marine Corps Fire Department, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany.
Partin said the purpose of Burn Awareness Week is to bring awareness that hot liquids are just as bad as open flame burns.
“Nearly 70 percent of children in burn units across the country have been scalded,” he said. “An ounce of caution truly can save your family a lot of pain.”
Partin said the two highest risk populations are children, under age 5, and adults, 65 and older.
Stacey Williams, safety specialist, Risk Management, Office, MCLB Albany, defines scalding as a burn that resulted from exposure to heated fluids, such as boiling water or steam. Most scalds are considered first or second degree burns, but third degree burns can happen, he said.
Scalding can occur as easily as a family member holding a small child while drinking a hot drink, then spilling the drink onto the child, causing third degree burns, which is an example scenario Partin gave.
According to the website, www.ameriburn.org/Preven/PediatricScaldsDosAndDonts.pdf, the average, annual cost of scald injuries is $44 million.
In 2011, more than 136,000 children were seen in emergency rooms for burns and 1,100 children die each year from fire and burns, according to the website www.ameriburn.org.
Partin noted when tap water reaches 140 degrees Fahrenheit, it can cause a third degree burn in just five seconds.
He also added hot tap water accounts for 17 percent of all childhood scald hospitalizations.
“Children should be monitored during bath time to prevent hot water scalding (them),” the fire chief said. “Hot water from the (faucet) can exceed 130 degrees and bath water should always be checked before placing children into the water. Bath water should not exceed 100 degrees.”
Williams recommended some suggestions to prevent scalding.
· Set water heater temperature to no higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
· Create a no-kid zone in the kitchen around stoves, ovens and hot items.
· Keep hot drinks or food away from edges of tables and counters.
· Use traveling mugs with tight-fitting lids for all hot drinks.
Place pots and pan on the back burner with handle turned away from edges of the stove.
For more information on burn prevention, visit www.ameriburn.org/preventionBurnAwareness.php
, or call the Risk Management Office at 229-639-5249.